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Sunday workshop, January 21st.

During lockdown I wrote '21 Mottos for working with watercolour'. In this workshop we'll be looking at Motto 3 'Watercolour is a medium of shape and not line'. We'll dive straight into the first watercolour, no sketching, no pencils, it's called 'The mug in layers'

When you draw a line, you mark a boundary to indicate where two areas come together. They look different enough in tone or texture for you to think ‘Oh I’ll draw a line there to show that’. In fact, no line exists at that meeting place. As your teacher I’ll ask you…’which side of that line is darker?’ That is the side where you will put your paint, making sure that the edge of your painted area has the edge which represents the line you have drawn. Below is the process I followed to paint the coffee mug.

1.       Painting the coffee mug - I make an initial wash of a pale yellow and fill a rectangular area with this colour except for the shapes I choose to leave white. I leave the rim of the cup white and the area inside the handle of the mug white. Being very careful about where I do not put the paint, I put my paint everywhere else. I lift two highlights on the cup handle, one on the top and one on the bottom.


2.       Once the first layer is fully dry, I paint the coffee within the mug and the shadow cast on the mug as one shape (layer two) while also being careful to leave the shine on the coffee’s surface light (un-painted with layer two).


3.       I take up more paint (more layer two) and paint the whole outside of the coffee cup shape, plus its shadow so that they run together as one shape. I soften the edges of the shadow but not the edges of the cup. I am careful not to paint over the ‘lifted’ highlights on the cup handle. I make the outside of the cup a slightly different colour from the colour inside the cup. This is possible because the outside and the inside of the coffee cup never run together – they are separated by the white ellipse.


4.       When layer two is fully dry, I paint the darker area of coffee inside the cup – this separates the shadow from the coffee’s surface and creates the ellipse of the coffee in the cup. I’m careful to leave the shine on the coffee and to ‘reveal’ a little more of the light. This gives the shine two tones. I paint some darker tone on the outside of the cup, making sure to reiterate the hard edges of the cup’s sides but softening the paint’s edges within that shape. Some of this paint runs into the shadow area. I find the dark tones on the cup handle leaving a few more places light. When the base of the cup is 100% dry, I put the darker shadow in making sure to get the edge exactly right to separate the mug from its shadow and affirm the lower edge of the cup.


About this site...
I am an art teacher living and working in Dorset.  I have taught for the Adult Education Service and the University of Bath, plus some supply teaching in my local schools but now I run all my classes and courses privately. This site is intended as an addition to my teaching, primarily for any student who in the week misses a class and wants to catch up.
The lessons are also available for any one anywhere who would like some ideas on what to teach, what to learn or is just interested in seeing what we do.
I'm afraid I won't be able to answer emails asking for comments on anyone's work (other than for currently enrolled students).
I teach three weekly art classes in halls in and around Blandford in Dorset and every six weeks or so I run a Sunday workshop in a village hall on the outskirts of Blandford. I also run a vibrant five-day summer school.. Other than that I spend every available moment in my studio or drawing and painting elsewhere.
I studied for four years at The Slade School of Fine Art where I was awarded The Slade Prize on graduation. I went on to travel and study further finally doing a P.G.C.E at Exeter University with Ted Wragg as my mentor. It was a wonderful year of education which set me in good stead for my years of teaching since then.



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